We are now in the North. And have been busy busy busy!! We caught the ferry over to Wellington, the capital, which had amazing views of the islands, it also happened to be a really nice day so we could sit outside to view it.
That night we went to a campsite and bumped into the german couple from our kayaking and they invited us to their hugggeee camper for wine and nibbles. They were saying how where they live it is very rude to let their guests glasses get too low so we left their camper later feeling very merry. Wellington was nice, but mainly just shops etc. We went to the Te Papa museum which was really good and very informative, we then treated ourselves to a really yummy curry. It was very good but we felt guilty afterwards because we had bread for sarnies in the camper. We didnt spend long in Wellington as we wanted to head north towards the Tongariro National Park.
We booked a minibus to take us to the crossing for the next day. So the crossing is 19.2 kms long and is one of the best one day tramps in the world apparently. It definately wasn't to be taken lightly as it is a very steep almost 1000m climb towards the volcano. And then another very steep climb down. The views were outstanding - look it up online!! We ate lunch overlooking the emerald lakes which were more azure blue. The hike in total took us nearlly 7 hours which is quite good going, but we were absolutely shattered. We drove that night towards Taupo and our campsite had a thermal hot pool - yey. There were quite a few people from our walk there. Taupo is really beautiful, the lake is stunning. we didn't spend very long there as the weather wasn't brilliant but we stilll got a good feel for it and visited Huka Falls.
From Taupo we drove towards Waitomo. That night we met a few more people from our walk and one was nice enough to make me some sushi so I was a happy bunny. Waitomo is famous for its limestone caves which house lots of glow worms. we decided against an action packed tour of the caves which involves abseiling and climbing through really small holes underwater and went for a gentle walking tour! We went with a company called spellbound who were the company that david attenborough used when he filmed for one of his shows - it must be good. We got picked up and driven to a remote farm and kitted out with helmets and head torches and entered the cave! As we walked through we could see lots of glow worms, but the best bit was getting in a boat and being pulled through the cave via the river in the pitch black. It was magical, like the night sky. We then went to another cave to see formations of stalagtites and mites. It was incredible, i think my favourite bit. It takes them 100years to grom 1cm and some were as big as me, it was amazing, such an experience. Definately a good tour.
So we are now in Rotorua. It smells very eggy here as it is geothermally active (I think thats right) We went to a night market on our first night which had amazing food to try. Yesterday we visited the Buried Village, which was covered completely by an exploding volcano over 100years ago. It was very eerie to see the sites they have excavated and the stories of the night etc. The pink and white terraces, which were basically lots of hot pools, that the volcano destroyed were supposed to be one of the wonders of the world. It was a really good tour. We then took a walk through Redwood forest, a forest planted with hundreds of species of plant and tree from different contries to see which thrived in New Zealand. The tree that really thrived was the californian Redwood. Very cool. And then last night we went on a Maori cultural evening, for a show of traditional dancing and singing etc followed by a traditional hangi meal (The maoris cooked in the ground) It was really good fun and we were absolutely stuffed. And thats about it so far. We are hoping to take a trip across to White Island, which is a volcano tomorrow (search it)
Still loving it